Humanizing the Past, Imagining the Future

Digital Pioneers web site

A few months ago I posted a bit about Digital Pioneers, a project I was involved with that has as it’s aim a project to document a period of time (c.1994 – 2005) and a type of project (i.e. one that transformed analog cultural materials into digital form) that explored the possibilities of digitization of material that was commonly held by libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in the words of the people who were present at the creation. The original project was organized around a class project at the University of Denver’s Library and Information Science Program. After the class ended, responsibility for Digital Pioneers was transferred to the Digital Initiatives office here at the Penrose Library, where we will continue to develop the project and interview more subjects as time and resources permit.

Our goal is to put a human face on the development of cultural heritage digitization. The story of the content and the technology development is told in the peer-reviewed publications and white papers, but we want to find out what people were actually thinking and attempting to do when they embarked on building the digital future; the challenges they faced, and the insights they developed as agents of change.

For now, there is a somewhat eclectic (but based on specific criteria) gathering of reminiscences, observations, and visions from a small group of people we were able to contact and interview in the time that we had. More interviews are in the pipeline, and many more people have already been identified as potential interview subjects. If you have a suggestion for someone who should be interviewed, please fill out the Suggestion Form on the Digital Pioneers web site. And for now, enjoy hearing the stories from a time and place that is fast becoming only a memory.

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